08/30/2017, 12.58
CHINA
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For Hu Jia, Liu Xia is "at even more risk than Liu Xiaobo was"

No one has seen her since her husband’s funeral. For her friends, she is still being held by the authorities. Many worry about her physical and mental health. Many activists are preparing to commemorate Liu Xiaobo in spite of Beijing's censorship.

Beijing (AsiaNews/RFA) – Nothing is known about Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo, seven weeks after her husband’s death.

"We are actually extremely worried about Liu Xia, and we think she is at even more risk than Liu Xiaobo was," said her friend, activist Hu Jia.

Liu Xia has not been seen in public, or by friends and close family, since she was photographed at her husband's sea-burial.

On 18 August, Liu Xia appeared in a video asking her privacy to mourn be respected. Friends and acquaintances suspect the authorities made the tape to back their version that she is “free, but grief-stricken”, and doesn't want to be disturbed.

China increasingly uses scripted statements and video "confessions" by detainees under duress to back up its narrative about their "crimes" or their mental state.

Hu, who is a close friend of Liu Xia's, said she is being held under illegal detention in the southwestern province of Yunnan. “The authorities aren't even going to discuss [letting her return home] ahead of the 19th Party Congress" in March, he said.

Liu isn't even being allowed to carry out traditional widow's mourning rites, seven weeks after his death.

"Apart from knowing that she is in Dali, Yunnan, I have had no news of her whatsoever," Hu added.

Liu Xia suffers from depression and heart problems under house arrest since October 2010. Like her husband, she has reportedly asked the government to be allowed to go overseas for treatment.

"Liu Xia's mental state is bound to be unstable," said another of Liu Xia's friends, Guangdong-based writer Ye Du. "I think everyone who knows her is going to be worried about her."

Meanwhile, Beijing's censorship on Liu Xiaobo's memory is getting tighter. A number of social media users have been detained for posting supportive or commemorative statements about Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia.

Some Guangdong activists have been detained for carrying out memorials for Liu Xiaobo and posting to social media about it. For now, they have been sent back to their hometowns where they are under surveillance by their local governments, and they are not allowed to leave.

Despite this, many activists plan to honour Liu Xiaobo tomorrow, seven weeks after his death. A week after his death various ceremonies were held in secret in mainland China and more openly in Hong Kong.

Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer on 13 July. The international community and human rights organisations have harshly criticised Beijing for the way it treated the dissident, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for his role in drafting the pro-democracy Charter 08 manifesto.

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